Mark Walker—Image: contributed

Kelowna realtor at odds with real estate board over dual agency change

Mark Walker says prohibiting realtors from representing both sides in transactions makes sense

The recent announcement by B.C.’s Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate that it intends to ban the practice of dual agency in real estate transactions has sparked debate among realtors, including here in Kelowna.

Many in the industry, including the president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board, have come out against the proposed change.

But Mark Walker, a Kelowna real estate broker, says he supports the change.

And that position, he says, has put him at odds with the president of his own real estate board.

“I’ve been in dual agency situations before, and I think the proposed new rules that are set to be implemented are a benefit to consumers and realtors alike,” said Walker.

Dual agency refers to when the same realtor represents both the buyer and the seller in a single transaction.

“Dual agency has the potential to jeopardize the ability of the agent to do the best job for their client,” he said. “Think about it—how can you truly represent both the buyer and the seller in a transaction? How can you negotiate for them? You can’t. It’s a total conflict of interest and a recipe for trouble.”

Walker, who runs his own real estate brokerage—Walker Real Estate—compares the existing rule that allows dual agency to a lawyer representing both the defence and the prosecution.

“I’m sure the individual lawyer would have the skill to make very good arguments on both sides, but could you say that this type of setup would be in the best interest of the client?”

He said his firm has been taking steps to limit its exposure to dual agency for the last year.

According to Walker, the big reason so many realtors are opposed is money.

“Whether it’s admitted to or not, I feel most of the opposition comes from the potential loss of income,” said Walker.

“Some agents will argue it is up to the client to choose how they want to be represented, and if they allow for dual agency, then so be it. However, that’s a misleading point. If clients truly understood how dual agency works, they wouldn’t go for it. I have no doubt about that.”

While stressing there are many very good real estate agents and brokerages in the city, Walker said a realtor has a fiduciary duty to his or her clients, and dual agency undermines that duty.

“At the end of the day, to represent both sides of a single transaction to their best interests is completely impossible,” said Walker.

“The best you can do is become a facilitator rather than a negotiator, but you should be paid accordingly—in other words, less. It’s like hiring a mediator rather than a litigator. These proposed new changes are good for the industry and consumers. I have no doubt about that.”

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate and the Real Estate Council of B.C. governs the real estate industry in B.C. The new rule on dual agency is set to come into effect on Jan. 15.

Just Posted

Kelowna council defers decision on homeless development

BC Housing is revisiting original plan after concerns from local businesses

3% tax hike proposed in West Kelowna

Proposed provisional budget tax hike in line with recent annual increases in the city

Okanagan robbery suspect sought

RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in an… Continue reading

11-year-old water quality advisory lifted in Glenmore

Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District says Interior Health gave the green light to lift advisory

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Crook’s Corner

A slice of this week’s arts and entertainment happenings in the North Okanagan at a glance

Liberal Hogg wins South Surrey-White Rock byelection over Conservative Findlay

B.C. riding to be represented by non-conservative for first time in decades

Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick Sooke boy asks government to help fund treatments

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Be ladder safe both at work and home

WorkSafeBC wants you to keep safe while hanging those Christmas lights this year

B.C. overdose deaths surpass 1,200

96 people died of illicit drug overdoses in October

A classic Christmas play with a Kelowna twist

Scrooge is transported to Kelowna in New Vintage Theatre’s new holiday play, opening Wednesday

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the agreement today

Most Read